ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 13

US $ 500m. bond: UNP warns foreign banks

By Nandana Kehelgamuwa

The UNP has written to three foreign banks informing them that a future UNP government would not honour the repayment of the proposed US $ 500 million bond to be taken by the Government, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe declared. Addressing the ‘janarala’ meeting of the National Congress held at Nittambuwa Mr. Wickremesinghe said the loan was being taken at the expense of withholding relief measures now given to farmers and the poor peasants.

He said by the time we pay back the loan in another decade, the amount would be as high as $ 850 million or Rs. 12,000 million making the nation a debtor for 10 long years to HSBC.“The Government had decided to allocate in 2006 5.6% from national production as relief measures but in 2007 it was cut down to 3.9% on a promise given to foreign commercial banks,” he said.

“HSBC has been told that the money is for expenditure on the Norochcholai power plant, the super highway in the South, the Hambantota port and construction work of the Puttalam – Padeniya road, but there was no rationality in obtaining such a loan and paying so much. Mr. Wickremesinghe questioned whether the loan was for Rajapaksa’s Randora programme for which the poor people are to be made debtors to the tune of paying back Rs. 1350 per year per person.

Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the joint UNP-SLFP (M) rally at Nittambuwa on Friday. Pic. by Gemunu Wellage

“The MiG 27s were supposed to be brought to destroy the LTTE. In that case why were not the LTTE cadres withdrawing to the Wanni attacked and killed? The Eastern Province was captured not due to MiG 27s, but because of the morale of the soldiers. In 1992 Toppigala and locations like Mavilaru were liberated, but it wasn’t due to the MiGs,” he said. Mr. Wickremesinghe alleged there had been a fraud in the purchase of the MiG 27s from the Ukraine, running into millions of rupees. This would mean each citizen had to pay Rs. 50 for the aircraft. Therefore, Mr. Wickreme-singhe alleged that Meda-Mulana had turned into ‘Mig-Mulana’.

“In the ancient days people made money from elephants and now from MiG deals. Today the media is being intimidated. Even the security of The Sunday Times defence analyst Iqbal Athas has been withdrawn.” Mr. Wickremesinghe further alleged that the Government did this because the journalist exposed the MiG deal of the ‘Rajapaksa Sahodarayo’.

Detailing the sufferings of the masses today, he said that the cost of living is prohibitive with fuel prices and other items at an unimaginable high and to add to that the Rajapaksa rule has blocked school admission of our children. “The need of Parliament is to look after the suffering people, to look into their free education and save the school system. We are on a petition campaign to lobby for these rights. We need to decide on whether we are serving the Government or serving the suffering public,” he said.
“Mr. Mangala Samaraweera wanted to sign the Jathika Sabha pact and I replied that in such an event we will be imprisoned by the Rajapaksa administration as Mr. Suriyaarachchi had to serve a prison term because he revealed the secret pact of the Government. Even at such a cost we are prepared to go ahead with it,” he said.

Mr. Samaraweera SLFP (Mahajana) wing convenor said that it was a happy augury that a meeting could be held in a place where for 75 years a single family dominated. 56 years ago Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike formed the SLFP to cater to the poor peasant people of this nation.

“Today a small group has taken hold of his policies. The Rajapaksa company stole the leadership of the party. During Chandrika’s rule some Cabinet papers introduced by her could be discussed and that was a sign of real democracy. But today in a matter of half hour as many as 80 Cabinet papers are passed and money spent on security runs into billions approved sans discussion,” he said.

“There is no organiser for the SLFP at Beliatta and I challenge the President to appoint one who is not a relative of the Rajapaksa clan,” Mr. Samaraweera said adding that there are about 130 members of the Rajapaksa family holding various positions. “This is the worst government since 1947 with Rajapsksa relatives dominating the State scenario. Whereas we have a national airline the President created his own Mihin Air against existing rules. This morning the Police Chief on the instructions of the Defence Secretary removed some earth from my land purportedly for a charm against me,” said Mr. Samaraweera. He said he would not leave the SLFP but work to save it from Medamulana as the Rajapaksa company was doing its best to destroy this country.

“We hope to do away with political victimisation. We were able to stop the LTTE from raising funds in Europe and Western countries. But today the Government is branding Mr. Holmes as a terrorist. “Rata perata” and Mahinda Chinthana are two aspects different in nature and I challenge the President to come to Attanagalla and explain his duplicitous policies,” Mr. Samaraweera added.

Top to the page

Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.